In An Uncertain World …

Rehearsals for Heisenberg continue, and include that strange experience that no matter how many shows you may have done, no matter how many theaters you have worked in, by day 3 you feel like you have never done any other play.

On this one that particular illusion (in this, what some parts of physics tells us is no more than a grandly illusory world) is more than usually convincing. Here’s why: Heisenberg is an elusive, absorbing, consuming, stimulating, challenging, unexpected, fascinating, quirky, amusing, esoteric, contradictory, intriguing, connective, disjointing, revealing, romantic, and more, 2-hander of a play which takes in themes from the cosmic to the commonplace and references the use of too many adjectives in journaling.

Marjorie Lowe and Me
Photo by Magnus Stark

It tells the story of a May to December romance passed through the mind-challenge that is quantum physics. So here and there in the text one or other of the two characters delves into the universe with non-usual awareness of space-time, dimensionality and … well … the word is … uncertainty.

As you may remember, the Uncertainty Principle says something to this effect: if you know where something is, you cannot know where it’s going or at what speed it’s getting there … and vice versa. And this was discovered and formulated by Werner Heisenberg when investigating particle physics.

Astronomers and yes, astrologers too sometimes ponder what the implications might be if we think of a planet as a particle and scale up the contexts of dimensions of time and speed and magnitudes of distance.

If, like me, you get quickly baffled when confronted with advanced physics, a lovely visual introduction to solar systemic geography and geometry is available here: … I like this because when the trail function is enabled the orbital movement of the planets round the sun looks like a complicated weave, reminiscent of the fates and their loom. And as with everything when astro meets logos, it depends upon your perspective and point of view and speed of perception.

The playwright (interview with Simon Stevens here) has extrapolated this principle into the realm of human relations. The play is a theatrical riff on the Uncertainty Principle. Werner Heisenberg himself does not appear.

Photo by Magnus Stark

You wouldn’t want to get involved in a project like this without expert help, and it is a truly lucky circumstance to be working with the amazing Marjorie Lowe, a very fine actress. And the incredible Bari Newport as director, someone who can float three or more ideas in one sentence. Bari is the successor to Joe Adler as the producing artistic director at Gable Stage.

Heisenberg opens at Gable Stage in Miami on October 29th and plays until November 20th. Tickets available here.